ALTI's Apprentice Boardroom Report For 3/11/05 (Episode #8)

Practical Lessons From The Apprentice
Can You Do Two Things At Once?

This weeks 8th episode of The Apprentice television show tasked the candidates to create a celebrity auction to benefit a children's AIDS charity.  Each time was to negotiate with five musical acts each and produce an 11 minute

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Why John Failed
running time 3:09


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promotional production to be aired on FuseTV. The winning team was the team who raised the most money for the charity.

In watching tonight's eighth episode, you might find yourself wondering, "when will you ever need to run a celebrity auction," well, here are some practical lessons pulled straight from tonight's episode that you can apply to your business today:

Can A Manager Lead More Than One Task At A Time?
From watching tonight's episode, most people would conclude that the firing of John Gafford, 32, was a good decision which it is. However this must not overshadow the lesson we can learn from Chris Shelton, 21. Chris vehemently argued that it was not possible for him to be in two places at the same time, that he could not oversee artist negotiations and production preparation.

What do you think? 
Can a project manager oversee two tasks at the same time?  
I'd like to hear your feedback. Just call the Apprentice Feedback voice mail line (800) 598-1338 ext. 9915 or email
If you make a good point you could be featured in this newsletter. 

I maintain that a good manager MUST know how to keep their fingers on the pulse of all mission critical tasks at the same time, and we don't have to look very far for proof.  Kendra Todd, 26, started the task observing her teammates in the negotiation task, once she felt confident, she delegated the task with the rule, "all deals must come through her for final approval."

Kendra wisely established rapport with her team, recognized the talent was there to fulfill the mission, and set appropriate guidelines and check points to ensure the task progressed as expected. In business, there must be a system of reporting and accountability, and a manager must be confident the team is hitting the milestones and clearing issues with management. 

In a larger organization, reporting and decisions uphold to a "threshold" as  issues travel up the hierarchy. At the end of the day, even Donald Trump knows what's going on in all mission critical areas appropriate for his position. How often have we seen him, hands-on, negotiating contracts with construction trades? 

The key is to know, what is mission critical, and when are you over-managing. There are 2 simple questions I use to determine this.  

1) Can your business survive through poor performance of the project?
2) What are the odds of a poor performance of
occurring

If the answer to either question in leans toward the negative, the manager must establish appropriate controls to insure the task is executed and implemented with the highest possible degree of success.

In the case of Chris, being too close to John carried with it too much trust when performance was absolutely critical.  However, John did  proclaim to be a musician and sold his team that he was most likely to know what musicians would donate to the auction.  In that case, if you set yourself up as the expert, and fail to deliver, be prepared to hear the words, "Your Fired" and Mr. Trump's finger pointing squarely at you.

--- SIDEBAR ---
Listen to my audio analysis of why John failed along with additional tips on how to be a more effective negotiator.

BONUS LESSON #2:
Does Charity Work Really Pay?  

Getting involved with a charity can be a very affordable and effective strategy to create buzz and awareness for your business. In fact, ALTI regularly works with non-profit organizations at deeply discounted rates, or occasionally on pro-bono.  

Here are THREE critical things to consider when exploring charitable work as a promotional strategy:

The Tie-In Must Provide Great Synergy
From donating goods or services to charitable auctions or directly to the charity itself, make sure there is a great synergy between the event, the group and your business. For example, all charities need websites, and most can't afford them, so if your a web design firm, working with charities should be high on your list.

Build In The Benefit
Make sure your organization is included in all advertising and promotions on behalf of the event. If necessary, be sure to build in a promotional strategy and secure media alliances before hand to help get the word out (and of course, mention your involvement). In the example above, ALTI often brings Press Relations and Media Partners as part of the project plan.

Reach The Right Audience
Work with the non-profit organization to best understand their benefactors, donors and constituents. Somewhere in there should be a healthy representation of your customers. For example, in tonight's Apprentice, the audience of Fuse.TV was a great match for the musician donors. 

Shameless Plug: 
Are you managing blind? 
Have you considered charitable promotions?
 

ALTI Consulting and our team of specialists can establish management feedback systems or work with you to leverage a charitable promotion. To get started give us a call or shoot us an e-mail for ONE free hour of complimentary consultation. (206) 984-9560 or

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